Only a complete medical examination by a spine specialist can tell for sure, but if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you are probably dealing with chronic pain.
If you answered “No” to the questions, you probably have acute back or neck pain.
The term “acute” means pain that has occurred recently, usually within the last three to four months. Occasionally, acute pain is an emergency situation from a traumatic injury such as a fall or motor vehicle accident.
More often with acute spine pain, the pain comes on rather quickly and has not gone away or worsened with activity or work. Most people seek medical help after the pain has lingered for a while and does not improve.
At the UI Spine Center, the most important first step in diagnosis and treatment is a detailed history of the problem, and a thorough physical exam focusing on the area of the pain.
Only after the history and physical exam do we talk to you about the possible need for other tests such as X-rays or MRI. Many acute spine problems can be diagnosed and treated without X-rays, MRIs or other expensive tests. The vast majority of acute spine symptoms do not come at all from the bones of the spine, but the muscles and soft tissues around the spine.
If your physician in the UI Spine Center determines your need for additional tests, you may be asked to return again. These test may include:
Treatment options available for acute spine pain:
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the UI Spine Center may be able to help you.
Chronic or long-term back or neck pain is a diagnosis that the Spine Center treats separately from surgical or acute (short term) back pain. Chronic spine pain is a major problem requiring a unique interdisciplinary team treatment program. The Rehabilitation Center for Chronic Spine Pain and our Spine Rehabilitation Program are offered by the Interdisciplinary Spine Rehabilitation Team that specializes in the treatment of chronic spine pain.